Monday, August 7, 2023

Pin It


1984: Best Original Song Score

The Academy has awarded Scores since the 7th Academy Awards, but they've always been futzing with what does and does not qualify as Original...or how such things should be categorized. The 11th Academy Awards introduced the idea of two categories, one for Original Scores, the other for Scoring - that is, orchestrations of either the said Originals or of previously existing music incorporated into the film. Longtime readers will have seen how, over the next four decades, the Academy kept adapting that second category to satisfy Original Musicals, then Adaptations (of Original and Pre-Existing Music), eventually ending with...Original Song Score. Yes, the Oscars honoring the films of 1984 finally put an end to the madness - for a little while, anyway - with one final award, impressive enough to have the Academy go, "You know what? Stick a fork in 'er, she's done, we'll never top that." And to be fair, how does one top giving an Oscar to Prince?

Well, let's see if we can...:

The Muppets Take Manhattan
Jeff Moss
first and only nomination

Of the many Muppet films I've seen (5/8!), this has gotta be the best, right? I mean, Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite, but for cinema that showcases why we love The Muppets, The Muppets Take Manhattan is pretty unimpeachable (do not come for me if I say this for other Muppets posts). Here, the gang is a scrappy group of college grads taking their show to Broadway, having to realize the highs and lows of making it in the Big City. Sets are fun, human supporting cast is great, hilarious and unexpected twists. And then there are the songs. I've highlighted my particular favorite above, but the entire finale is a gem, not to mention "Together Again," "Saying Goodbye," and "I'm Gonna Always Love You." That's a lot of great music, all in the service of a very good movie!

Purple Rain
first and only nomination

Purple Rain isn't particularly well-written, nor is it well-acted for the most part (Morris Day and Clarence Williams III being notable exceptions). But gosh, the editing, the cinematography, the costumes, the music! THE MUSIC!!! This is where the story is, from the opening "Let's Go Crazy" establishing First Avenue to the "I Would Die 4 You/Baby I'm a Star" finale. I'm talking the emotional angst of "When Doves Cry" as The Kid rides his motorcycle through town, the sardonic meanness of "Darling Nikki" and the wrenching plea of "The Beautiful Ones", the understated catharsis of "Purple Rain." 

Kris Kristofferson
first and only nomination

Songwriter is about a country singer who's sick of being taken advantage of by record execs and vows to go rogue. What follows is, I guess, a musical-comedy? Willie Nelson is the lead, inspired by his own life and frustrations. Kris Kristofferson plays the best friend. Rip Torn is an unscrupulous promoter, the best part of the film. Shaggy thing plays like a long hangout sesh, one which I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Of the eleven original songs on the soundtrack, nominee Kristofferson is solely responsible for four and co-wrote two others; unnominated Nelson is solely responsible for four and co-wrote another. They're good songs! I'm just not crazy about the movie.


And it should be obvious: I can't top the Academy's choice. My vote:


Tomorrow, the nominees for Best Original Screenplay: Beverly Hills Cop, Broadway Danny Rose, El NortePlaces in the Heart, and Splash.

You May Also Enjoy:
Like us on Facebook

No comments: